Everybody wants bigger arms and we get that. But the thing many dedicated bodybuilders tend to forget is that regardless of how great it feels to have greatly developed biceps, you shouldn’t neglect the rest of the muscles in the arm.
In fact, if you want to build truly admirable arms, you need to train every muscle in the arm with the same volume and intensity as you do your biceps. Nobody admires guys with ridiculous muscle imbalances, so it’s crucial to create a balanced approach to training arms that won’t leave any muscle behind. Here are our suggestions.
Arm Training for Maximal Growth
1. Tricep Dips
Enter the king of triceps builders. Tricep dips help you target all three triceps heads at once with a heavy load which translates to a maximal recruitment of muscle fibers and more growth.
Dips are complex in that they require movement of a number of joints and thereby promote the development of multiple muscle groups at the same time. So before even thinking of doing triceps isolation exercises, give your triceps a nice burn with this potent move. Depending on your level of strength, you can perform triceps dips on a bench or using a set of parallel bars, mostly found on an assisted pull-up/dip machine. If you’re a beginner, start with a weight that’s roughly two thirds of your original body weight until you get the hang of it.
Approach the machine with your arms fully extended on both sides, then wrap your fingers around the outside of the parallel bars with your thumbs on the inside.
Your wrists should be angled so that they allow the elbows to bend backwards.
Hold your body at arm’s length with arms nearly locked above the bars.
Slowly lower yourself down with an upright torso until your biceps touch your forearms and your triceps are fully stretched. The elbows should stay close to your body.
Press yourself up, squeezing your triceps.
If you’re a beginner, perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. As your strength increases, progress to 5 sets of 10 reps.
2. Rope Triceps Pushdown
The triceps pushdown is a thorough and balanced exercise which should be an essential part of any triceps program. It hits all three heads of the triceps, but emphasizes the lateral and medial heads slightly more than the long one, while also working your shoulders, abs and upper back. If used regularly, this move will help you build stronger and more toned triceps with the much sought-after ‘horse shoe’ shape. While there are many ways do it, performing it with a rope attachment helps isolate the triceps better and achieve optimal contraction.
Additionally, the rope enables you to target fibers that lie deep within the triceps and move through a greater range of motion. In fact, one 2011 study found that the rope triceps pushdown was more effective than the bar pushdown when it comes to recruiting triceps muscle fibers.